As hunting season rolls around, those looking to enjoy the sport in Michigan must wear “blaze orange.” A ruling this week by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission rejected a proposal for hunters to have the option of wearing “hunter pink” as their primary safety color in the woods, the Detroit Free Press reported. “The commission has retained the blaze orange requirement for hunter safety,” Ed Golder, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, told the Press. With the decision, Michigan joins Illinois, Maine and Montana in rejecting “hunter pink,” an option that has been touted as a way of encouraging more women to take up hunting. “Hunter pink” has been embraced in Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin, the Press reported. “We don’t know for certain whether the introduction of blaze pink camo will encourage more women to take up hunting, but many people do, so let’s hope it’s true,” Mike Bazinet, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s director of public affairs, told BearingArms.com earlier this year. “The broader trend of more clothing designed and tailored for women involved in the activity is definitely here, however,” Bazinet added. “Go into a Cabela’s or Bass Pro or virtually any other outdoor retailer, and you will find a wide selection of hunting apparel for women.” Michigan hunters can still wear pink to compliment an outfit, as long as one prominent piece of clothing — such as a hat, jacket or vest — is blaze orange and is “the individual’s outermost garment and be visible from all sides,” the commission ruled. “To be clear, this doesn’t mean that people can’t wear the pink. If you want to wear hunter pink, if you want to wear green, that’s fine. But you have to comply with our blaze-orange requirement,” Golder added. The blaze orange color, an international standard for safety, has resulted in fewer hunting-related injuries and deaths, according to the report, and has been a requirement in Michigan since the 1970s. The report also argued not everyone is in support of switching to hunter pink, and “many claim it divides the hunting community.” That certainly seemed the case earlier this year in Virginia, when state lawmakers debated the question. “There are women who like to hunt, but it’s not about fashion,” Sen. R. Creigh Deeds told Bearing Arms.com. “It’s about being in the woods. And the purpose you wear a color is so somebody can see you and they don’t shoot in your direction. I mean, blaze pink — I just think it’s silly.” Seems that some people in Michigan agree.
Indeed… The whole notion of “blaze pink” is patronizing toward women, and is putting some trendy fashion sense ahead of common sense. Blaze orange is universally accepted as the color that hunters should wear, and I’ve already heard from women who think the whole “hunter pink” think is ridiculous. The smart course of action would be to make “blaze orange” the standard for all states, to erase any confusion and make hunter safety the priority.